Gaining more than 42% of the vote in his home state of Carinthia on Sunday, Haider's Freedom Party pulled clear of its socialist rival.
  
The 54-year-old governor held on to his post despite fading popularity since forming a national coalition with Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel's conservative People's Party in 2000.
  
But Carinthia's governor made it clear he was going to maintain his distance from the capital Vienna.

"This victory is an order from the people. The governor will not flee his state."
  
Haider profile

The son of a former Nazi party official, Haider has built his career on nationalist, anti-Europe, anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim policies that resonate well in the central European country.

Many Austrians have fears about letting former communist bloc countries into the European Union.
  
A lawyer by training, Haider is a skilled political performer, a charismatic speaker whose high-collared shirts have become a trademark.
  
In 1986, the Freedom Party was barely at 5% in public opinion polls.

In 1994, Haider and his party won 22.6% in general elections, taking more votes in a parliamentary election than any other European far-right party.
  
Six years later Haider's party was in government, having won 26.9% of the vote in general elections, the first far-right party in a European government.

But the Freedom Party leader was kept from a ministry due to his outrageous comments.